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Other posts by Chris Walters

Four New York high schools to hand out Kindles to students
August 7, 2011 | 11:10 am

This fall, four school districts in New York will distribute 3G/Wi-Fi Kindles to students in high school English classes as part of an experiment to see whether the ereader is a viable classroom tool. The program, called the 8-Ounce Backpack Project, was funded by a foundation grant and will pay for teacher training and 84 Kindle devices, which will be loaded with reference materials as well as novels. Read the full article at the Syracuse Post-Standard. Via Seattle PI (Photo: John Berry / Syracuse Post-Standard) ...

CEO of HarperCollins talks about experimentation, ROI, and the 26-use ebook policy for libraries
August 7, 2011 | 9:33 am

Digital Book World has a ten minute video interview with Brian Murray, CEO of HarperCollins, where he talks about how the publisher is experimenting with new business models in the digital age. It's worth watching the full interview, but this is what he has to say about HarperCollins' controversial library lending policy: Libraries are a really important channel for HarperCollins. We’ve talked about discovery of books and libraries are where a lot of discovery happens in many communities across the country. So HarperCollins is committed to that library channel. The challenge is that we’re trying to balance the needs of all...

Turkish writers, editors, and publishers talk about ebooks
August 7, 2011 | 8:45 am

Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman spoke with five Turkish publishing professionals about how digital publishing is transforming their business, and what they think it might lead to in the near future. The Literary Saloon, from where I found the link, notes that "while the answers aren't too different from the familiar ones in the US, UK, and elsewhere, it's still interesting to hear it all from a slightly different perspective." ...

Kobo’s workaround to provide a store link has been pulled from iOS app
August 6, 2011 | 1:54 pm

We don't know whether someone at Kobo voluntarily decided to do it, or whether the Apple ebook police demanded it (but the second option is a lot more likely), but the two links to the Kobo web store have been removed from the News feed of its iOS app. If there's any good news to this, it's that the post still lays the blame for the store removal squarely on Apple. At least as of today. Via The Digital Reader ...

Can students save money with digital textbooks?
August 6, 2011 | 1:41 pm

SFGate took a look at all the ways today's student can purchase access to a textbook—buying the latest print edition, buying used or older editions, and buying or renting digital editions—and found that thanks to high pricing and inflexible rental periods, going digital is only occasionally a good solution: Each textbook will have a unique set of prices for its different versions, so it makes sense to consider e-textbook rental on a case-by-case basis. However, for the time being it appears that e-textbook rental will only save students money when having a new edition of a textbook is important, and when...

Barnes & Noble hosting self-publishing online review today
August 5, 2011 | 3:36 pm

Today until 8pm ET, self-published authors who are using Barnes & Noble's PubIt! digital publishing platform can visit the PubIt! Facebook page and pitch their novels to participating book review bloggers. Here are the details: On Friday from 9am EST-8pmEST, stop by the PubIt! Facebook page. We'll post as status updates the blogger's call for submissions. Under each blogger that's a good fit for your work, post 2 sentences describing your book. Be sure to include your genre, length of work, and your pen name if it is different from your Facebook identity. Please note that you can only pitch books already...

The Guardian launches “Guardian Shorts” e-singles
August 5, 2011 | 9:28 am

Another news outlet has decided to sell short pieces on current events as standalone ebooks, reports paidContent. UK newspaper The Guardian has launched Guardian Shorts as , and the first title is Phone Hacking: How the Guardian broke the story. Although the series is Kindle only for now, the first title isn't listed as a Kindle Single but rather a standard Kindle title. The Guardian says that it will release "up to several" new titles each month depending on what's going on in the world, at lengths of 5,000-30,000 words and priced from £1.99 to £3.99 depending in part on...

Woot offering 16GB HP Touchpad for $385 shipped
August 5, 2011 | 8:31 am

HP's flagship tablet, the Touchpad, launched just a month ago in 16GB and 32GB models for $500 and $600 respectively, but in an attempt to move more units the company has introduced a $100 discount to both models. The new $400/500 prices are now showing up on sites like Amazon and, but if you want a slightly better deal you should check out today's offer from Amazon-owned $380 + $5 shipping. Here's another review of the device if you want a second opinion....

Melville House embraces QR codes to connect digital to print
August 5, 2011 | 8:17 am

Brooklyn based Melville House Publishing has launched a new program, HybridBooks, that lets a customer scan a QR code printed on the back of a book to access supplemental material in digital format. Here's a sample of the related content, which it calls "illuminations," for the novella "THE DUEL by Giacomo Casanova." The New York Observer has more details: "For example, The Illumination for the HybridBook version of Anton Chekhov's The Duel contains an essay on dueling by Thomas Paine, poems by Lord Byron, philosophy by Nietzsche, an anti-dueling church sermon, an argument in favor of dueling by a U.S. Senator, and...

German publishers are still figuring out how to deal with ebooks
August 4, 2011 | 2:55 pm

Max Franke of the German print-on-demand company epubli says that many German publishers are too risk averse and controlling when it comes to ebooks, and as a result they miss out on opportunities. They take too long to bring new products to market, he says, and take the wrong approach to DRM and social media. German has a very rich vocabulary for describing power relationships. Obrigkeitsgläubigkeit — belief in authorities — is a problem for the book business, especially when it’s hard for publishing industry leaders to accept that digitization has changed everything, that authors now have the opportunity to successfully...

Smashwords releases updated style guide
August 4, 2011 | 2:26 pm

From the Smashwords blog: We updated the Smashwords Style Guide today to include improved instructions for building linked Tables of Contents, controlling your NCX, building intra-book links for footnotes and endnotes, and troubleshooting. The new instructions are included in an expanded Step 20. Download the latest Style Guide here. [...] Separately today, we reached an exciting milestone. Today, the 100,000th copy of the Smashwords Style Guide was downloaded at Thousands of additional copies have been downloaded through our retail distribution network and Amazon. ...

AOL joins news aggregation app war with “Editions” iPad app
August 4, 2011 | 12:16 pm

AOL has just launched a new iPad app, Editions, which serves up a custom daily "magazine" of content from both its own sites and others (but mostly its own). Like Zite, Flipboard, Pulse, Taptu, Hitpad and a slew of other apps, you can customize the type of content you see, although if you don't like the default suggestions you'll have to connect your social network accounts to it to generate new topics. Editions seems to fall somewhere between Flipboard and The Daily, borrowing a lot of the visual style of the former but packaging itself as a once-a-day digital publication...